What’s Hot



While Web usage among Canadians continues to climb, our adoption of e-commerce remains stagnant. CyberTrends, ComQuest Research’s quarterly survey of Canadian behaviour and attitudes toward the Internet, reports half of all Canadian adults use the Web at least once a month – and the proportion of those who use the Web weekly has risen to 40%, up from 34% just a year ago. Only 14% of Internet users, however, feel "very comfortable" buying online, a number that has not changed since the last quarter. A full 61% of Canadian consumers say they’re not comfortable at all.


According to a recent survey by hair-growth formula maker Rogaine, men are increasingly concerned about their appearance and the impact it has on their romantic and social lives. Over four and a half million Canadian men suffer from hair loss, and describe their predicament as "depressing" or "stressful," according to the Rogaine Reality Report. The study says men are no longer willing to "suffer in silence" – 46% of those surveyed say they deal with the emotional impact of hair loss by talking to their partners. The Canadian celebrities whose hair is most admired by balding Canadian males are Quebec singer Roch Voisine and comic actor Jim Carrey.


When shoppers are in holiday planning mode, they’re more open to suggestion. That, loosely put, is one of the conclusions of a recent study by Point-of-Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), a New Jersey-based trade association representing in-store advertisers. The pilot study, which measured the effectiveness of POP advertising, found that in-store displays – including signage, floor graphics, coupons and so on – boosted sales in 13 of the 20 weeks measured. But the study found the lift to sales was substantially higher when the creative was tied to a specific holiday or event, particularly those all-American summer festivities – Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The research study, which tracked 30 food and beverage categories, found that POP advertising made the most difference to new brands and those that were infrequently promoted.


You can teach an old dog new tricks, but first you’ve got to earn its trust. That’s the gist of a recent study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that set out to examine the confidence levels of "elderly" computer and Web users. The study, which surveyed 1,000 computer users aged 45 and up, concludes the group represents an important and growing online demographic, but says confidentiality of personal information is of "utmost concern" to aging Net surfers. Among the key findings: Respondents reported having used computers an average of 8.5 years and to have been online an average of 3.3 years; about 80% of those surveyed have Internet access and, of those, respondents spent an average of five hours a week using e-mail and nine hours a week surfing the Net. That said, the study also shows online confidence drops sharply with increasing age and suggests that marketers be sensitive to the range of skill levels that exist among computer users 45-plus.

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group